Man pleads not guilty to murder of wife, daughter

DALLAS — A man charged with the murder of his wife and daughter pleaded not guilty Thursday to murder in the death of a 2-year-old girl.

Dallas County District Judge John Lacy ordered James Anthony Martin to stand trial for the April 4 death of his 28-year old wife, who was pronounced dead at a Dallas hospital.

Martin faces up to life in prison if convicted of second-degree murder.

He’s being held without bail in the Dallas County Jail.

He was charged with first-degree kidnapping, aggravated assault and tampering with physical evidence.

Martin’s attorney, Brian Williams, declined to comment.

The girl’s father, James Martin Sr., told reporters outside the Dallas courthouse that his daughter, who has Down syndrome, had been taken from him in a car accident and was later found dead in the basement of their home in the 5300 block of West Lake Avenue in North Dallas.

A police officer was in the driveway, Williams said, when the officer heard screaming and saw a large amount of blood.

Williams said his daughter’s death is being investigated as a homicide.

He said his family was shocked and saddened by the news.

“The fact that they are now saying this is a case of murder, I think that makes it more difficult,” he said.

In an interview with ABC News, Williams, who said he is a police officer, said his client had recently gotten married.

The couple have two children and live in Dallas, Williams added.

ABC News’ Kym Worthy, Matt Rourke and David Zalubowski contributed to this report.